If you are like me, then some of the following questions ring true for you:
Can you remember what happened yesterday, the day before yesterday or even earlier this morning? Some days breakfast seems so long ago!
Were you aware of your actions and more importantly of God’s presence throughout your day? Nowadays life is often a blur of unconnected moments rushed together by the next demand upon time and energy.
Do you want to find peace, gratitude, and more awareness within your day? Sometimes it happens that it is a struggle to feel a purpose or a point to this day. The events seem so frustrating and beyond my control.
Living in the present moment is certainly the way I strive to live each day. When that is a struggle, another way to bring awareness is a reflection back on your day. When I stop to think of recent events, moments, and feelings I often become more connected with them. I feel less drained by the events and more grateful for the opportunities. Reflection upon daily events often generates more meaning too.
St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, created a beautiful method of daily reflection called the Daily Examen. In his rule for the Jesuit order, the Daily Examen was to be prayed at noon and at the day’s end. Unlike the examination of conscience which focuses on recognizing the sins we committed to prepare better for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Examen is a process by which we open our hearts and minds to God working in our lives. We use the events and emotions of the day to look for God’s touch and to seek His direction for us.
The Examen takes you through these five steps of reflection:
- Become aware of God’s presence.
Ask God through the Holy Spirit to bring clarity. Be open to Him.
- Review the day with gratitude.
Pay attention to the small things – good moments or connections made. These are often the most overlooked gifts. Fill your heart with gratitude.
- Pay attention to your emotions.
God is in emotions, too. Sometimes emotions are God’s way of guiding you to better things, to a change, or to be closer to Him. He will reveal to you what your emotions mean if you look at them with honesty.
- Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
Ask God to show you one part of the day He most wants you to connect with. It could be a happy moment or a difficult one or a small seemingly insignificant one, too. Consider it with an open heart and pray about it.
- Look toward tomorrow. (The Daily Examen)
Think ahead to tomorrow. What feelings arise? Pray that God will give you direction and peace. Seek His guidance and love.
It is recommended that you finish your Examen with praying an Our Father. It is the perfect prayer that Jesus taught us to seek God’s will in our lives.
Take a moment now even if it is not noon or at the end of your day and allow yourself to be guided through the Daily Examen through this short, reflective video. It will allow you to experience this daily gift of seeing God.
I highly encourage you to find time to read over this great article Rummaging for God: Praying Backwards through Your Day. It helps to better understand each step of the Examen and gives some thought-provoking consequences for praying it daily. (They are good consequences worth considering!)
The Daily Examen can certainly be an amazing family evening prayer time. What a witness to each other of God’s presence in each of your lives and the gift that it is to reflect together. It truly is a gift that allows us to see God every day no matter what occurs!
The Daily Examen retrieved from https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/
Author: Laura Stephens, FF Homeschool Coordinator